Indian Woman Travellers, Leading the Way into 2014 – Part 4

Before we begin, let me apologize for not being able to publish the 4th part of this series in April. I was a part of the Kerala Blog Express through most of March and because of that could not manage to collect the necessary information for the post.

In order to get the series back on track, the 4th and the 5th part of the series will be published in May. Well I’m learning things about blogging everyday and I hope to plan these posts much better and keep the series going on schedule from now on! 🙂

This is Part 4 of the monthly series featuring Indian Women Travellers. For this series, a set of questions were sent to Indian women travel bloggers with the aim of finding out a bit more about their lives and what motivated them. The underlying purpose of this series is to get more people from India and around the world to get inspired and seek out the many fantastic adventures and sights that India has to offer.

To know more about this series, please read the post – “Indian Women Travellers, Leading the Way into 2014 – Part 1”.

Featured here in Part 4 are 7 women travellers from India who have gone beyond the norms and decided to take the path less trodden.

1) ARATI KUMAR-RAO (http://www.ficusmedia.com/)Arati Kumar Rao

Q: How long have you been travelling?
A: Since i was little.

Q: What got you addicted to travel?
A: I love nature, i love learning, i love exploring. Travel is just a means to doing all that. Of course, you dont have to travel far for any of those!

Q: What was the biggest challenge you face as a solo woman traveller?
A: It’s only when this question is asked (and it’s asked often!) that I am conscious of it. So far I have never been made to feel unwelcome or unsafe. That said, there is no point being foolish. 

If i had to pick one challenge, it is when traveling solo as a photographer, sometimes i wish i had someone who could help me with equipment – especially when it is raining and i’m shooting 🙂

Q: One lesser known destination or experience that you would recommend to fellow travellers and why?
A: More than a particular destination, i would urge people to explore. to eschew packaged tours and to wander by themselves a bit. so many little things (bookstores, coffee shops, chaikhanas, farms, homes) even in popular places are best discovered in one’s own way. But … stay safe and enjoy every moment!

Follow Arati on Twitter – @aratikumarrao

2) MANSI PAL (http://chaiaroundtheworld.com/)Mansi Pal

Q: How long have you been travelling?
A: The travel bug was genetically transferred to me by my father. Ever since my first job, my only savings have been my travel memories and not PPFs, NSCs and RDs.

Q: What got you addicted to travel?
A: My father took me to the Andamans when I was 10 and a voice deep down told me, “Mansi! This is your Chocolate Factory.” Since then, discovering places has been a way of life for me.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you face as a solo woman traveller?
A: The absence of clean toilets on highways and the freedom my male counterparts enjoy – the ability to take a leak where there are no toilets without someone watching my back (no pun intended).

Q: One lesser known destination or experience that you would recommend to fellow travellers and why?
A: I think everyone should do the Valley of Flowers trek. It is a beautiful and strenuous experience but so worth it. 

And, if you love trains like I do and you look forward to a train journey because you love watching the shunting of train engines, make friends with the loco pilot of your train. My friends and I got talking with a local pilot during one of our train journeys and the next thing I knew, we were inside the train engine after the train started. Definitely a conversation starter for a long time.

Follow Mansi on Twitter – @mansipal

3) JYOTHY KARAT (http://jyothykarat.com/)Jyothy Karat

Q: How long have you been travelling?
A: Professionally, for five years.

Q: What got you addicted to travel?
A: Photography!

Q: What was the biggest challenge you face as a solo woman traveller?
A: Finding clean toilets, figuring what to do with your expensive equipment when you gotta… well, go…, learning to trust strangers and most importantly learning when/who ‘not’ to trust. 

Did you just need one challenge? Oops!

Q: One lesser known destination or experience that you would recommend to fellow travellers and why?
A: Go scuba diving in Pondicherry. Learn to appreciate the marine eco system (or what is left of it) – that world that exists underwater which we persistently choose to ignore.

Follow Jyothy on Twitter – @jyothykarat

4) BHARTI SINGH (http://suitcaseofstories.in/)Bharti SIngh

Q: How long have you been travelling?
A: Since childhood.

Q: What got you addicted to travel?
A: My father was in Indian Navy and had a transferable job. We used to move to a new city every few years. As a kid I used to look forward for the next transfer, making new friends, new school, new playgrounds etc. This love for the new and unknown stayed with me even after I grew up.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you face as a solo woman traveller?
A: Personal safety is a big concern in India and I am always on my guard in a new place. This comes in the way of striking conversations with strangers because somewhere at the back of my mind I am too cautious. It’s not like all places are dangerous but one tends to be careful. 

Q: One lesser known destination or experience that you would recommend to fellow travellers and why?
A: I strongly recommend starting with your own city. Look beyond the cliches and you’ll be surprised what your own city can offer. We often get too busy with our routine and overlook what’s around us. I’ve met foreigners who know more about our cities than some locals.

Follow Bharti on Twitter – @hippyboxx

5) NICKOLAI KINNY
(http://nickolaikinny.wordpress.com/ & http://www.travelbud.in/discover.html)Nickolai Kinny

 

Q: How long have you been travelling?
A: Since i was 6 but solo and by myself for over 9 years now.

Q: What got you addicted to travel?
A: Since I was 8 I knew traveling was my calling, I figured I may not always have the time or the money so I have to find a job that pays me to do it. Ever since my purpose for life was clear I did everything in my part to find that job… I graduated in tourism studies and did my masters in tourism management and decided writing was my feat and so I took up travel writing and content writing in tourism.Travel has thought me how little you need Inorder to survive in this world and also how to classify a want and a need. My idea of myself changes every time I come back from a new destination or trip…because I react in ways unknown , I am effected by experiences I would never have, had I stayed in the city and visited the mall over the weekend. So i wouldn’t call it an addiction, but more a lifestyle.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you face as a solo woman traveller?
A: Safety is major concern and its surprising how everyone around you will bring it up more than you’ve even thought about it. People often ask if I know self defense or why and how I travel by myself. I have a standard answer for these question… I believe it’s either about how bad you want it or how bad you need it everything else in terms of safety, timing, apprehensions and planing becomes secondary because all of that can be dealt with, with a little bit of smartness, precaution and guts. I think life’s too short but also long enough to be spent exploring, learning and exposing yourself to new scenarios and avenues to have fully lived ones time on earth. 

Q: One lesser known destination or experience that you would recommend to fellow travellers and why?
A: I think everyone should #indiatravel to Bir in Himachal Pradesh, Badami in Karnataka and Elephant island in the Andamans.

Follow Nickolai on Twitter – @Miss_Mused

6) ANKITA MAHABIR (http://living-n-escaping.blogspot.in/)Ankita Mahabir

Q: How long have you been travelling?
A: Haven’t stopped since I was 18. Got my degrees and worked along the way too.

Q: What got you addicted to travel?
A: I was born with wanderlust I think. I don’t remember a time when I was not addicted to travel, adventures and new experiences.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you face as a solo woman traveller?
A: It’s tough and tiring to have to think twice about your actions in certain countries. The simple act of going into a local bar and grabbing a drink is unthinkable in a lot of places. It’s frustrating to miss out on these experiences sometimes but somewhere along the way you learn to see the benefits more than the negatives. 

Q: One lesser known destination or experience that you would recommend to fellow travellers and why?
A: Hong Kong Islands. It’s the only place I’ve felt 100% safe and I’ved hiked and camped solo without any problems whatsoever.

Most people think of big buildings when they think of Hong Kong but that’s only a part of Hong Kong. The natural beauty and scope of outdoor activities in HK is phenomenal.

Follow Ankita on Twitter – @living_escaping

7) SHARVARI MANAKAWAD (www.youtube.com/motoreels & www.facebook.com/motoreels)Sharwari Manakawad

Q: How long have you been travelling?
A: My parents have been avid travellers and nature lovers themselves. So since when have i been travelling i have no memory of, only pictures.

Q: What got you addicted to travel?
A: I have always been fascinated with the Atlas. When I was introduced to travel, it changed me. I started actively taking initiative to find like minded travellers/motorcycle tourers and make the journey.So many unexplored places, so many unknown cultures, so many friends to make, authentic local food to try, so much to discover. You travel once and you will love it, and you will want to do it again and again.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you face as a solo woman traveller?
A: The challenge begins once my Helmet comes off and the culture shock kicks in (Woman Adventure Travel Motorcyclist) in India … Until then I have my #Spirit (My Yamaha) to take care of things. 

Q: One lesser known destination or experience that you would recommend to fellow travellers and why?
A: The scenic route between Bombay To Goa (using old Coastal Highway) that we took out of curiosity to see where would the road after Kashid lead to. We rode a hundred kms by the coast to Srivardhan, discovered Anjarle overlooking the massive Arabian sea, Aare Ware a virgin beach with thousands of migrated cranes, riding the flat plateau stretches of Ratnagiri that I like to call “Wild Wild West” and finally some authentic konkani seafood at Tarkarli before feeling all hippy at Vagator. You realise how adventurous it is when you are taking 6+ ferries as the road ends, and spot abandoned historic ruins.

Follow Sharwari on Twitter – @MissManakawad

This is the fourth post of the series ‘Indian Women Travellers’ and subsequent posts will be published on the first week of every month. If you know of other Indian women travellers or travel writers who you think should feature here, please feel free to share your suggestions in the comments section.

More of us need to know about these phenomenal women and get inspired.

Cheers! 🙂

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